Take a look at your company's health and safety initiatives through the eyes of a Ministry of Labour inspector. A list of the top 10 violations in 2017 compiled by the ministry* reveals the compliance shortcomings of firms in Ontario as well as ministry priorities.
"This release has valuable information you can use to kick start a review of your own health and safety program," says WSPS Consultant John VanLenthe. "It may foreshadow what your potential risks are. This list was compiled from visits to firms in a variety of sectors, but is general enough to use as a guide for your own workplace."
- Workplace violence and harassment (11,662 violations)
- Fall protection (9,658)
- Lack of personal protective equipment (8,318)
- Improper access and egress (6,472)
- Health and safety representative and JHSC (6,239)
- Administrative (6,007)
- Basic OHS awareness training (5,232)
- Improper use/maintenance of ladders/scaffolding (4,846)
- Lack of machine/equipment guarding (4,276)
- Housekeeping/work surfaces (4,269)
Most common Infraction
"It's not a big surprise that the top infraction involves workplace violence and harassment," says John. "New harassment requirements were only a year old at the time, but it's clear the ministry expects businesses to comply. We can expect violence and harassment prevention to be a priority in 2018 as well."
To put these insights to use, ask yourself, a few questions. What is our compliance level like? Do I have a violence and harassment policy and program in place? Have I trained supervisors on how to carry out investigations? Do workers know who to turn to if they are in trouble? Then perform the same analysis for all the other items on the top 10 list.
Ensuring you are in compliance in all these areas is important, and may help you during a ministry inspection, but it doesn't mean your workplace is safe. For instance, these 10 items don't cover every aspect of an employer's duties under the law. Compliance represents the ministry's minimum performance standard. It's a safety starting point, not an end point.
Take time to be truly proactive by going back to the basic questions. What does my business do? What are the activities? What are the risks involved in what I'm doing. Is the training adequate? Make health and safety effective for your workplace by going beyond compliance.
How WSPS can help
We offer training, e-courses, and downloads on every aspect of building a health and safety program, and have consultants standing by with information and support. Here are just three options among many:
- explore our online resources by topic and hazard,
- chat with our duty consultant about custom consulting services: 1 877-494-WSPS (9777),
- plan now to join our 2019 Safety Group. It's part of a WSIB performance-based premium rebate program. Participating companies work together on key safety initiatives designed to reduce injury frequency and severity. The 2016 Safety Group members earned a collective rebate of $7.4 million.
* Ministry of Labour Assistant Deputy Minister Peter Augruso shared this list with delegates attending a session on Ministry of Labour priorities for 2018-2019 at WSPS’ 2018 Partners in Prevention Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show, May 1-2.